Hive Fiction programme

Hive Fiction programme for writers (18-30s) – take your writing to the next level 

Writing can be a lonely and a tricky business to navigate, even for those who’ve been doing it for some time. It’s difficult to know where to get feedback, or if what you’re writing makes the grade. And then there’s what to do with a story or novel once you’ve finished.

If you’re an aspiring short story writer, or novelist, keen to take your craft to the next level, Hive is running the Hive Fiction programme offering an immersive set of workshops over several months providing the help and guidance to get to where you want to be. Join prize-winning author, editor, and short story writer, Nik Perring, for all things fiction, and:

  • identify and work towards your writing goals
  • generate great ideas and turn them into brilliant stories
  • focus on the mechanics of fiction writing such as creating compelling and believable characters, convincing dialogue and description, and strong plots
  • learn how to edit your work to make it publication-ready. Even down to identifying the small changes that can turn something good into something brilliant
  • receive one-to-one feedback on work and tips and insights into publishing routes and opportunities

Who’s the Hive Fiction programme for?
The programme is for fiction writers, aged 18 to 30 in South Yorkshire, at any stage of their writing journey who would like to get more serious. You might lack direction, sticking power, or confidence. You might have a project you want to get stuck into, or want to sharpen your skills, or focus on honing your work.

All levels, genres and interests welcome | Meet like-minded people | Refreshments | Where: central Sheffield near trains/buses
Intro session sat 20th October – Regular fortnightly sessions – day and time subject to majority interest in the first meeting (likely a weekday evening or Saturday afternoon)

Cost: The programme is subsidised by Hive South Yorkshire meaning a cost of just £55 for 12 sessions, and one to one tutorials and support at key stages. If cost is a barrier, please let us know in your application. Places are limited.

To Apply: Send up to 4 A4 pages of work (Times/font size 12), and up to 600 words saying what your interests are, where you are with your writing, and how you’d like the programme to help you to fiction@hivesouthyorkshire.comby midnight 7th Oct 2018

Nik Perring is a short story writer and the author of five books. His work has appeared in many fine places all over the world including Smokelong, Word Riot, 3 :AM Magazine, and The Fiction Desk. It’s also been read on the radio, performed on the stage, printed on fliers and appeared, with Dave Eggars’, on a High School Distance Learning course in the US.

Nik is also an editor and a teacher of writing, working with both adults and young people, everywhere from primary schools and high schools to universities and the BBC. He’s a key facilitator for Hive South Yorkshire and writer in residence, for First Story, at Leeds West Academy, and Melior Academy in Scunthorpe.

Hive Fiction is part of the Hatch programme – next step opportunities for young and emerging writers aged 18 to 30

Eloise Unerman named Barnsley Young Poet Laureate

Young Barnsley poet wins local accolade
[Press release – Hear My Voice Barnsley] Congratulations Eloise Unerman!

18-year-old Eloise Unerman of Goldthorpe has been named Barnsley’s Young Poet Laureate in recognition of her ongoing literary achievements. The town’s current Poet Laureate, Ian McMillan will guide her into the role over the coming months, with an official award event during the Hear My Voice Festival in March.

The mentoring process has begun with Eloise interviewing the Bard of Barnsley for Hive young writers’ website. Eloise will also be supported by Laureate’s Choice poet Vicky Morris. Both will work together delivering poetry workshops in the community and writing new poems. All three poets are excited by the prospect of working together and bringing new poetry to the people of Barnsley while enthusing more local people to unleash their own creative voices.

At just 18, Eloise has already achieved a huge amount of success including winning the Cuckoo Northern Writers Awards in 2017 and being young poet in residence for the Ledbury Poetry Festival earlier this year.

‘The exciting thing about poetry’ says Ian McMillan ‘is that it’s a constantly evolving and changing art form, and it’s great that in Barnsley we have a new generation of poetry on the rise. Eloise is a fantastic ambassador for poetry in the town and beyond; poetry is in safe hands with her!’

The poets’ roles are funded by Barnsley TUC Training Ltd with additional support from Barnsley Museums.

About Young Poet Laureate, Eloise Unerman:
Eloise Unerman is a young writer from Goldthorpe, Barnsley who writes poetry and short stories, and is a member of the Hive Young Writers network and a recent new member of The Writing Squad development programme. She was awarded the Cuckoo Northern Writers Awards in 2017, and her poetry has won first prize in the young people’s categories of the Barnsley Hear My Voice competition 2017 and the Ledbury Poetry Competition 2017. She has since been awarded young poet in residence for the Ledbury Poetry Festival 2018 where she’s been commissioned to write her first poem.

Eloise received a commendation in both Photofictions 2014 and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017 and she was shortlisted for the New Poets Prize 2016/17. She has been published in anthologies such as: Anthology of Young Poets (Paper Swans Press 2017), Introduction X (The Poetry Business 2017), and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Online Anthology (The Poetry Society 2018). Listen to her read at Ledbury here.

About Laureate’s Choice Poet, Vicky Morris:
Vicky is a writer and creative educator based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. For 20 years she has worked as a creative practitioner and educator on numerous short and long-term projects with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. A passion, and much of the focus of her work, is supporting the artistic, personal and professional development of young people.

Vicky won a Northern Writers Award in 2014 for fiction and was shortlisted for the Jerwood/Arvon Scheme for poetry in 2016/17. In 2016 she founded Hive South Yorkshire, a consortium writing project and hub for young writers in the region.

About the Poet Laureate, Ian McMillan:
Ian McMillan currently presents The Verb on BBC Radio 3. He also writes weekly columns for The Yorkshire Post and The Barnsley Chronicle.

Ian is Barnsley’s Poet Laureate and ambassador for Hear My Voice a Barnsley based programme of creative opportunities, activities and poetry-themed events, designed to engage, stimulate and inspire interest in the spoken and written word. Check out The Verb

Ian McMillan interviewed by Eloise Unerman

It’s not every day you wake up to find you’ve been offered a new title. In my case – Young Poet Laureate for Barnsley! An honour bestowed on me by the lovely arts people from the Hear My Voice project in Barnsley. But what does it mean you might ask? Needing some insider tips, there was only one thing to do – sit down for a good chat with Barnsley’s first Poet Laureate, the magnificent Ian McMillian.

Ian was kind enough to answer all sorts of burning questions I had and give some of the best advice for young poets starting out. He was warm and funny and told me some very odd stories about men in capes and Dosestos bleach and said blimey a lot. What a role model for me to get started on my young Laureate journey. I hope you enjoy reading or listening as much as I did spending time with the Bard of Barnsley! 

Eloise Unerman

Listen to the interview in full here or read highlights below>>



Someone said to me the other day – do you maintain a base in Barnsley? I said, yeah, I call it my house.

How did your writing journey start?

I was born in 1956 and, in the 50s into the 70s, Darfield was called West Riding. It was a separate education authority that had a Chief Education Officer called Sir Alec Clegg, who was a genius. He said that all children are creative. In my school, Low Valley County Primary, we just wrote all the time. We’d have a lesson, then we’d sing about it and dance about it and write about it. It just felt like the most natural thing in the world. Writing was not something that other people did and you didn’t do.

Sounds like paradise.

It was. But it didn’t prepare you for the world and I went to Wath Grammar School and the teachers weren’t West Riding. We had one fantastic teacher, Mr Brown, who got me back into writing. I was so thick I thought essay was spelled S.A. and I wrote, ‘my S.A. by Ian McMillan, future Nobel Prize for Literature winner.’ He took me to one side and said, ‘Ian, Nobel Prize Winners don’t come from Darfield.’ Which I disagree with, I think they can. But he was great. If we could point to one teacher who really got us going, he was the one.

What were your influences when you first started writing and what are they now?

When I first started, they were comics. My mum used to get her hair done once a fortnight in Great Houghton and, when she came back, she’d bring me this brown paper parcel with comics in: Dandy, Beezer, Victor, and what she called a Commando Book which was a little one. At the same time, I was getting books out of the library. I never saw any difference between them, they were both exciting writing.

Then I started reading John Steinbeck, he was my favourite. And, in terms of poetry, I didn’t read a lot. Then Mr Brown gave me Crow, Ted Hughes’ 1970s book – here’s a book of jokes by comedians. I read them and they made laugh and he said, by the way they’re not jokes, they’re poems. And I thought, blimey. Then we were doing this book called Nine Modern Poets so it’d have people Dylan Thomas, Philip Larkin, John Betjeman.

I went to college in Stafford and I was still reading stuff, and standing up and performing it. In those days, there was a network of folk clubs where they had these singers’ nights like open mic nights. They were so welcoming. You’d read your stuff and they’d go, good lad. Me and my mate Martin used to work together and we’d do comedy and poems, and that’s what got me started in enjoying being a performer.

These days, I read all the time – books just keep arriving. When I get home tonight, because I went out at seven o’clock, there’ll be two more Jiffy bags full of books. It’s great. My wife says – why have we got all these books? And I’ll just go – I’ve been presenting this show on the radio about books for sixteen years so they’re going to keep coming in. At the moment, my favourite in terms of performance is John Cooper Clark, partly because he has a northern accent. Whenever he sees you, he knows you vaguely but he always says, alright lad, how’s the project? So then you go, I’m still writing, John.

My favourite poet of all time is Roy Fisher. One of the first readings I ever did, in 1978 in a pub in Toddington, he was the headliner. It was the weirdest gig. The organiser was drunk and he kept standing up and selling vegetables. We’re doing this poem and he stands up saying, get your carrots! This other bloke goes, I’m going to kill that fella for interrupting the poets, the drink has destroyed him. I was a teenager thinking, god, this is great. This is how the literary life should be. Then this man ran in, Jack Trevor Storey who was a novelist, with a cape and a flying helmet and goggles and he ran round the room shouting, I am the president, then he ran off.

There was a Doncaster Literature Festival years ago and I saw a reading by Ted Hughes, and he stopped halfway through. I can’t do anymore, he says, I’m spent. Those were my influences but, I’m also influenced by every book I read. I’m just reading Louise Gluck, she’s one of my favourites, an American poet.

What draws you the most to poetry?

I think the way that it’s democratic and anybody can do it. Even if you can’t read or write, you can speak it. I like theatre and I like art but, to make these things, you’ve got to have a space and other things. But, to make poetry, all you need is a blank sheet of paper or your voice. It feels like a universal form that’s been going on forever and, whatever happens, it’s not going to break. It’s endless resilience. When I first started, I thought it was a precious vase and, if I dropped it, it might shatter but it’s not. I think people turn to poetry at times of either great personal or national and international turbulence, like we’re having now.

How did the radio work start and what do you like the most about presenting The Verb?

A mate of mine, Dave Sheasby, was a radio producer in Sheffield. He rang me up and said, I want to interview you about your writing. So he interviewed me and I made him laugh, and he said, can you make me laugh every week?

My advice to people is always say yes, at least to great adventures. He said, can you write me a thing every week called A Letter from Barnsley, just a little 15-minuter? Not live, recorded. And that’s where it started. Then they invited me and my mate Martin to review the papers on Radio Sheffield, and that was a live thing. Then Dave said, do you want to present a show on Saturday mornings on Radio Sheffield from nine until twelve?’ So we said yeah, and that was so exciting. Then Dave moved to Radio 4 and he said, ‘have you got any ideas?’ And I said yeah – I had no ideas. So he thought of some ideas. He had The Blackburn Files, which were just like a detective story set in Barnsley, and then made documentaries.

And then, about sixteen years ago, (I love Radio 3 but I always thought it was elite) the Radio 3 boss rang up and he went, ‘would you like to do a pilot for a show on Radio 3?’ I felt like, I’m with the big boys here. Scary. So I did the pilots originally going to be called Saturday Speakeasy and then Pure Verb, because that’s a line of a Seamus Heaney poem, and then they said, we’d like you to present this thing called The Verb.

I’ve been doing it for sixteen years now and there are so many good things about it. On Radio 3, you can stretch out and do what you want. You can ask people difficult questions, you can get people to mesh with each other. I’ve got a fantastic group of people. For ten years, it was down in London and then they said, ‘Ian, good news, we’re moving to Salford.’ And I said, ‘you think the north’s a small shed and Salford is just there and Barnsley’s there.’ It takes me twenty minutes longer to get to Salford than it does to get to London.

Every week is an absolute joy. Last Saturday we recorded one of the last nights of The Proms, so we had Michael Palin talking about his new book. We had Jason Singh beatboxer, Anne Dudley who wrote the music for The Full Monty and American slam champion Mojdeh Stoakely. Before the show I always give the guests apples and, after, we have cake. We try and make it like a party and, at the end of it, I’m buzzing with ideas and excitement.

You must’ve met some interesting people in your career – who stands out and why?

Very early on, there was a poet called Harold Massingham who was in the same class as Ted Hughes at school but has always been a bit forgotten, and he was such an interesting fella.

He came from Mexborough, wrote these amazing poems that were really difficult and, when I met him, he had a real odd charisma. I saw him do a reading at Lumb Bank at the Arvon Foundation – he turned up with a white shirt on and a goatee beard and he said, I am a complete sensualist, I drink Lager and I take snuff. I was a young man and I thought – this is fantastic. There was a guy called Ken Campbell who was a theatre maker and writer, and we had him on The Verb a lot.

He was an amazing person, his thing was improvisation. He set up these improv-a-thons where he’d just get people to improvise for twenty four hours. He said – you’ve got to get your lizard brain, stop thinking. He did these fantastic things for us on The Verb. One of my favourite people is Liz Lockhead who’s a wonderful poet from Scotland and she was one the first people I met in terms of performing.

Has being northern and having an accent ever affected how you’re seen or how you work as a poet?

It’s never affected how I see myself but often people think all kinds of things, like they think you put your voice on. He talks like Prince Charles in the house. Can’t stand that Ian McMillan, professional Yorkshireman. Someone said to me the other day – do you maintain a base in Barnsley? I said, yeah, I call it my house. They didn’t believe that someone could live here and be cultured and interesting and intellectual. Sometimes I know that I’m picked as the token northerner for things, when they’ve got a panel.

I’ve being doing voiceover on Channel 4 for this show called The Dales and Lakes and I had to keep going, ‘Later in The Dales and Lakes,’ before each advert break, and this fella on the train the other day came up to me and asked me to say it. So I said it. And I went, ‘oh, great.’ Then Sean Bean who’s in Sheffield did a voiceover and they thought he was me. ‘I thought I’d hear you on the telly.’ I said, ‘no, you didn’t. It was Sean Bean, a blade. I’m a Barnsley fan.’

Is there anything young writers have now that you wish you had when you were starting out?

The internet. You’d write a poem and I’d get my mum to cut up cornflake packets to fit an envelope so my poem was flat. Then about five weeks later it might come back. And you’d have to think, who was that person who wrote diddly-dee? So you’d go down to Darfield Library, you’d look, you’d ask your mate. Nowadays, it’s all there. Also I like Twitter so much and I wouldn’t be able to tweet all the time.

And is there anything you had when you were starting out that you wish young writers nowadays had?

It’s the other side of the coin we just talked about. I quite liked the mystery of not being able to find things, which will never happen again in human history. You’d think, what was that thing? Where was that? Who wrote that book? What is that tune? Who said that? Knowledge was a mystery whereas now knowledge is a very practical thing that you can find anywhere. Sometimes I wish that young people had that sense of things that you can’t quite grasp.

Is there anything that you would say to the young poet version of you if you could go back in time?

I’d say, take more opportunities. I’ve took plenty but I remember getting third prize in a competition in York and I won something like ten quid. And the idea was that I was going to go read my poem and I was so nervous that I daren’t go. I remember, on the morning, saying that to my mum and going and sitting in Darfield Library. I wrote to the woman because we didn’t have a phone, and she wrote back saying – you silly boy. And maybe – work harder at school, McMillan.

What have you enjoyed most about being Barnsley Poet Laureate?

I resisted the name for ages. I said – can I be Barnsley Poet Champion or Barnsley Poet Tsar? I don’t like that word, laureate. Because I’ve been here a long time they all know me so, when I’m walking about – he’s here. Don’t say anything, he’ll write a poem about it. Or – Put that in a poem.

What’s good about it is – here’s a poem I’ve written. I get a lot of that when I’m at the football. I like being a public person. There used to be a fella going round Barnsley who’d stop me and go – I’ve got a quick one for you, Ian. I thought that Laureate felt like you were distanced from that. What I’ve enjoyed about it is that it’s legitimised what I do anyway. Also, it’s concentrated the mind wonderfully because they’ve gone – we’d like you to write a poem about this, or about the Tour de Yorkshire.’ What I’m writing is not aimed at people who read poetry, it’s aimed at everybody. I did like the word in the end – my mate drew a picture of me with a lorry on my hat because I’m Poet ‘Lorry Hat’. That’d be good, wouldn’t it? Or a hat made out of a lorry.

You’re judging Hive’s Young Writers Competition early next year. What do you look for in a competition poem?

With a competition poem, it arrives and it’s got to stand on its own two feet. It’s got to say, here I am. There’s no point sending in a poem that might just be one of the ones you’ve written. If you’re entering a competition, you may as well try and win so it’s got to be the best thing you’ve ever written and the most different thing. So, when the judge reads the first line, they think -I can see what’s coming next, then they say, wait a minute, I was wrong. Blimey.

It shouldn’t be your first draft. Maybe you should look at it and really polish it. I know that Hive have got some fantastic hints and tips on how to edit poems, because it’s not an easy skill. But, if you look these, that’ll show you how to do it. I wish I’d had people giving me hints and tips when I was younger. Send me something that, if you were a judge, you would give a prize to.

Is there any advice that you were given about poetry that’s really stayed with you?

I asked somebody what poetry was and he said it’s the music of what happens, and that’s what I like. Wherever you go, whatever you see or hear, whatever you encounter is a possible poem about to happen. Absolutely anything can have music in it. That’s my favourite phrase.

Write as you talk. Just use everything that happens to you as the idea for a poem. Hugo Williams, fantastic poet, writes very much about his life. He wrote this poem about splitting up with a girlfriend but then put, ‘even as we leave the room, I’m working out where the line breaks are going to go in the poem I’ll be writing about this.’ Also, carry a notebook. Write stuff down. Something’ll happen to you and if you don’t write it down, all you remember is you had a good idea.

Any pearls of wisdom to young and emerging writers in South Yorkshire – or anywhere?

I would say always believe that you can do it. Believe that it’s not an exclusive club, it’s an inclusive club that everyone can join. Write poems all the time, read poems all the time. Find out where things are happening. Hive will tell you where things are happening. If things aren’t happening near you, maybe try and start something. Maybe get together with other people who write because you often think that you’re the only one. And, in fact, there are lots of people writing everywhere. So I would say keep your eyes and ears open, keep your notebook open, and keep your book of poems open.

With big thanks to Ian McMillan

Hive Yorkshire Young Writers Competition

Our young steering group has hatched…

Hive’s new young writers’ steering group met for the first time on Wednesday. It was so lovely to have great conversation with young and emerging writers that have come into Hive via every route in and have benefited in different ways and taken different paths, and are now wanting to help shape and support Hive’s next steps! Thank you all for coming and contributing to a great discussion. New plans are hatching!

Introducing the Hatch programme

From September 2018, we are so pleased to have been granted funding from Arts Council England to pilot a new programme – Hatch – offering a number of next step opportunities for young writers from 18 to 30, including training and development opportunities and an enabling fund allowing emerging writers to progress their practice, explore new skills and experiences, and shape content, audiences and approaches to producing and accessing writing.

We’ll also be working with community partners on new projects and kicking off a Yorkshire-wide magazine/journal online that with involve young writers as guest editors and creative journalists, and of course be open to all (14-30 years) for submissions at key dates during the year.

Watch this space!

Hive South Yorkshire is funded by Arts Council England
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Moor Mother & Hive young writers

What better way to kick off the autumn than with the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival in Mexborough!? And we’re very excited that 10 young writers from Hive will be performing alongside the amazing Afro-futurist, Moor Mother, all the way from Philly USA for this Friday’s opening event.

Our performers are: Danaë Wellington, Salma Lynch, Warda Yassin, Dominic Heslop, Georgie Woodhead, Sile Sibanda, Vertaa Lune, Ali Hosin, Kiran Malhi-Bearn (also of Verse Matters) and doing a longer set just before Moor Mother we have 16 year old spoken word artist and rapper Fionn McCloskey, aka Hythyn.

It’s going to be a great weekend so come and join us in Mexborough – a quick hop on the train from Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham. Click here for the full programme.

Where: Mexborough Business Centre, College Road, Mexborough, S64 9JP
Friday 7 September -6.15pm – 9.30pm
Tickets: £5 (general admission) / £3 (student & under 25 years). A limited number of weekender tickets are also available at £15 (includes Friday & Saturday night performances and one workshop). To reserve your place, please book through our TicketTailor event page

Moor Mother is an international touring musician, poet, visual artist, and workshop facilitator from Philadelphia, USA. She has performed at numerous festivals, colleges, galleries, and museums around the world.

As a soundscape and visual artist, her work has been featured at Baltic Biennale, Samek Art Museum, Vox Populi, Pearlman Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art Chicago, ICA Philadelphia. As a workshop facilitator, she has presented at Cornell University, MOFO Festival, Moogfest, Black Dot Gallery and others. Moor Mother is co-founder and curator of Rockers Philly Project a 10-year long running event series and festival focused on marginalised musicians and artists spanning multiple genres of music.

Her debut album Fetish Bones was released on Don Giovanni records to critical acclaim. Fetish Bones was named 3rd best album of the year by The Wire Magazine, number 1 by Jazz Right Now and has appeared on numerous end of the year lists from Pitchfork, Noisy, Rolling Stone, and Spin Magazine. Moor Mother was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 10 artists to watch in 2016 and named Bandcamp’s 2016 artist of the year. Moor Mother released a 2nd LP called The Motionless Present commissioned by CTM X VINYL FACTORY 2017. Moor Mother has appeared in the Quietus, Interview Magazine, The Guardian, Crack, Pitchfork and others. Moor Mother’s schedule has included Berhaign, Borealis, CTM Festival, Le Guess Who, Unsound, Flow and Donau Festival, Rewire, Boiler Room and MOMA PS1.

As a durational performance artist she has been commissioned by Moog Festival, Vox Populi Gallery, Icebox Gallery and others. Her first book of poetry called Fetish Bones was released on The AfroFuturist Affair small press. As a member of Black Quantum Futurism Collective (BQF), she has been a part of two literary works and several zines.

Top image courtesy of

Poetic narratives for performance with Andy Craven-Griffiths

Poetic narratives for performance – with poet & playwright Andy Craven Griffiths
Hive Young Writers’ Day in partnership with Off the Shelf
Sat 6th Oct – 10.30am – 4 pm | Venue: Sheffield Institute of Education, Charles Street, S1 2ND
Open to young people aged 14 – 25 years from across South Yorkshire

Write poetic narratives for performance with poet & playwright Andy Craven-Griffiths. Learn how to write work to be spoken as a satisfying story, and how to deliver with rhythm and (optional) rhyme. This is a workshop for writers of any form, at any level of experience, wanting an opportunity to explore different ways of getting their writing into a live context using poetic performance. Previous Glastonbury Slam Champion and Verb New Voice, Andy is currently re-writing his one-person play about kindness, Joygernaut, for a second tour:

Supported by Off the Shelf & Sheffield Hallam University Faculty of Development & Society

Tickets: only £5/£3 concessions, including refreshments (but not lunch)
Discounts: Hive is particularly keen to encourage young people who wouldn’t normally access this type of opportunity, and there are always discounts available for a number of tickets to support individuals who may be unable to pay in full, or to support travel costs within the region. Get in touch ASAP before places fill up if that sounds like you.

Booking: To book a place on this Writers’ Day, email
Where: The Institute of Education, Charles Street Sheffield. This is just off Arundel Gate and Arundel Street, 5 minutes from Sheffield train & bus stations.
Someone will be there to greet people at the reception from 10.15am. Charles Street Building info here
Google map info here: 133 Charles Street, Sheffield S1 2ND
Hive Young Writers’ Days
Hive Young Writers’ Days are a chance for young writers, whatever your interest and ability, to develop your writing with support from professional writers, while meeting other young writers, and getting involved in the Hive young writers’ network.

Hive Young Writers’ Days are open to young people 14 to 25 (this changes sometimes). If you don’t quite fit, but you’d like to come, get in touch with:
For more about our writers’ days click here.

Andy Craven-Griffiths is a writer, rapper and performer based in Leeds. He has performed poetry across the UK and abroad. He has also had work published in various poetry journals, broadcast (Radio 1, Radio 4, BBC 2), and commissioned by the Arts Council and Rethink mental health charity. In 2016 Andy was one of Radio 3’s Verb New Voices and made work for Oxford University Press as an animator. He has run poetry workshops for over 25,000 young people, and has a chapter in the Bloomsbury book Making Poetry Happen.
See Andy in poetic action here.

halfway smile – young writers anthology

We are excited to say, halfway smile is here and available to buy! This wonderfully moving and diverse anthology showcases 73 works of poetry, short story and flash — the work of a whopping 69 young and emerging writers in the region including award winners Warda Yassin, Eloise Unerman and Georgie Woodhead. It also celebrates the winners of our inaugural Hive Young Writers’ Competition, open to young writers from across the region.

A wonderful gift for fiction and poetry lovers and a snip at £6.00!

“An astonishingly vibrant, varied and accomplished collection — a real treat awaits the reader here.” Kate Long


“This is writing that bubbles with promise, that shows real application of the craft of writing, and that gives the reader a sense of exhilaration at the ways in which these young writers manipulate language, play with it, and make it jump through hoops. Read and enjoy!” Ian McMillan

Buy halfway smile

You can buy halfway smile in Sheffield at the wonderful All Good Stuff at Butcher Works on Arundel Street (near the uni and train station). Or if you can’t get to the shop, we can deliver by post. You can pay by internet bank transfer or Paypal.

If by post, drop us a line to with: 1) the amount of copies you’d like 2) how you’d like to pay (Paypal or bank transfer). We’ll get back promptly confirming the amount with details of how to pay.

1 copy £6.00 + £1 pp (total £7)
(If you’d like to purchase more copies, do contact us for a price)
Why is it so cheap you might ask? Because we want it to be accessible to everyone, young and old. Proceeds go back into the project. 

This is a limited edition, not-for-profit publication in part funded
by Arts Council of England |

Readings – Eloise Unerman Ledbury Festival 2018

At the end of June, Barnsley young poet, Eloise Unerman, who attends Rotherham Young Writers, had the exciting opportunity to be young poet in residence at the Ledbury Poetry Festival.

As the winner of the young person’s category of the Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition 2017, Eloise was asked to attend the 2018 festival and write a poem especially for it, and talk about her inspirations as a poet. She also gave a reading of some of her work.

Phillippa Slinger, Festival Manager said: I can’t tell you how lovely it was to have Eloise here. She read beautifully at the Launch event featuring Young Foyles and all visiting poets including international stars Jackie Kay and Major Jackson. Eloise joined in many other events, and even came to the poets’ supper and got to mingle with loads of national and international poets. It is so much the aim of the young poet in residence scheme to allow young poets to develop in whatever way they can, and she really made the most of all her opportunities here. We are immensely grateful to Eloise for spending her time so fruitfully here.

Eloise reading 04.53 to Bristol (her winning poem) at the Ledbury Poetry Competition Winners Event

Eloise reading various poems at the festival launch event

Eloise talking about her inspirations as a writer & performing her poem Ledbury, specially written for the festival

Ledbury Poetry Festival do a wonderful job of bringing poets into the festival family and supporting them and encouraging them back again in future, and we just want to say a massive thank you to the festival and to Phillippa Slinger for their ongoing support of young and emerging, as well as established, writers.

To hear all of the wonderful readings from this year’s festival, click here

The Young Poet in Residence scheme is supported by Foyles as part of the Festival’s Emerging Poets Programme which includes: Ledbury Emerging Critics (link), Voice Coaching residential workshop, 20 mins events and competition winners’ events.

Eloise Unerman bio

Eloise Unerman is a young writer from Goldthorpe, Barnsley who writes poetry and short stories. She is a member of the Hive Young Writers network, and recently joined The Writing Squad. She was awarded the Cuckoo Northern Writers Awards in 2017, and her poetry has won first prize in the young people’s categories of the Barnsley Hear My Voice competition 2017 and the Ledbury Poetry Competition 2017. She has since been awarded young poet in residence for the Ledbury Poetry Festival 2018 where she’s been commissioned to write her first poem.

Eloise received a commendation in both Photofictions 2014 and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017 and she was shortlisted for the New Poets Prize 2016/17. She has been published in anthologies: Everyday Hymn (Writing Yorkshire 2015), Anthology of Young Poets (Paper Swans Press 2017), Introduction X (The Poetry Business 2017), Wild Poetry (Hive 2017), Cuckoo Press Issue 6 in NARC magazine in 2017 and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Online Anthology (The Poetry Society 2018).